Why You Should Replace All of Your Kitchen Cabinets with Drawers

Why You Should Replace All of Your Kitchen Cabinets with Drawers

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Nancy Mitchell
Jan 8, 2018
Kitchen drawers efficiently holding dishes, in a photo from IKEA.
(Image credit: IKEA)

The typical American kitchen (as of this writing) has a row of upper cabinets and another, deeper row of cabinets under the countertop. The lower cabinets will have, perhaps, one drawer, and then a set of doors. This is actually a terrible idea!

If you're considering a kitchen remodel, I'm here to convince you that every kitchen should have drawers — not cabinets — under the counter. If you've already got drawers in your kitchen, well, read on and feel smug.

Banks of drawers (and a breathtaking backsplash window) in a kitchen from Cantilever Interiors.
(Image credit: Cantilever Interiors)

Disclaimer: I have never had a kitchen with drawers like this. (My current, teeny-tiny NYC kitchen does not have any drawers at all, not even a small one for silverware, a fact which I find continually maddening.) So this post was born from my blunted longing for drawers, but I figured I'd better do a little research to see if they are actually as great as I imagine. My "research" involved interviewing various members of the Apartment Therapy team via Slack, which confirmed: yes, drawers are great.

Why Drawers Are Better than Cabinets

Fresh, minty drawers (and a matching range hood!) in a kitchen from Decor8.
(Image credit: Decor8)

1. They're easier to access.

A typical lower cabinet is two feet deep, which, with a doored cabinet, means that it's easy for stuff to get lost in the dark netherworld at the back of the cabinet. And who wants to pull out everything they own just to get to that one pot? Drawers neatly solve this problem, making even objects in the very back of the drawer easy to access.

This kitchen from Bolig pairs drawers with a couple of glass-front china cabinets — the best of both worlds.
(Image credit: Bolig)

2. They're easier to organize.

The space inside a doored cabinet is basically a giant box, which can often result in a terrifying, haphazard jumble of stuff. Drawers make it much easier to add dividers, which allows everything to fit neatly into its own spot.

Drawers make for efficient cabinets in a hyper-modern kitchen from Bo Bedre.
(Image credit: Bo Bedre)

3. They're more efficient.

Using every square inch of drawer means you'll be able to fit a lot more stuff into the same amount of cabinets.

Two-tone drawers in a kitchen from Bolig, via Nordic Design.
(Image credit: Bolig)

4. They're the only way to go if you don't have upper cabinets.

If you like the look of a kitchen without upper cabinets, drawers are pretty much the only way to go. Imagine, for a moment, trying to cram bowls and plates and glassware into a doored cabinet. Not really possible.

In this kitchen from Nuevo Estilo, all the storage is below waist height.
(Image credit: Nuevo Estilo)

5. They'll amaze your friends and family.

We're not saying you should redo your kitchen just to make your friends and family jealous, but can you imagine the look on their faces when they realize your bottom storage features drawers instead of cabinets?

Still not convinced? Here's a quote from Adrienne Breaux, Apartment Therapy's House Tour editor and kind of an expert on what makes a great home.

I've never had drawers myself, but my parents do and it's amazing and incredible and I wish all cabinets were like this. Instead of having to get down and dig through the back of a cabinet, you just open it up and gently choose from an organized array. Drawers make you feel like you live in Martha Stewart's kitchen.

Case closed.

This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Why You Should Choose Drawers Over Cabinets in Your Kitchen

What do you think? Would you make the switch if you could?

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